By now everyone should have seen the lengthy message Vaughn posted last night. For various reasons he did not want to discuss what he has been doing until now, and I realize this silence has created concern and allowed Scientology to hope for the worst. But Vaughn is, more than ever, doing what he does best in this battle with Scientology. He and I are in daily contact, and I suggest that any hope Scientology may have had that they could drive a wedge between Vaughn and me is just as futile now as it ever was when we were inside the cult. It will never happen.
Now it is time to bring everyone up to date on the relentless campaign of intimidation and harassment to which both Bob Minton and I have been subjected recently. It is a campaign which has increased dramatically since Jesse Prince emailed Bob at FACTNet after hearing about the Dateline program and, shortly thereafter, met with me in Columbus, Ohio. It will become clear as you read this report that Scientology is terrified of what Jesse’s information is going to do. So terrified, in fact, that they have literally made death threats against him. But let me start earlier.
It began on July 7, while I was in Columbus, Ohio, for a meeting with Brian Haney and Bob. That evening when I checked my email I found that the executive director of FACTNet had forwarded a message to me that Jesse Prince had sent to Bob Minton. In the email message Jesse suggested to Bob that he check with Vaughn and me about who he was, since the three of us had worked together extensively when we were in Scientology. He included a cell phone number in his message. I called him immediately and left a message giving him my hotel phone number.
I had known Jesse since 1976 in Scientology and was thrilled to see that he was reaching out to re-establish contact. He had been third in command of Scientology, under David Miscavige and Vicki Aznaran, from 1982 until he was busted, along with Vicki and many others (including Vaughn), by DM in 1987. Jesse had always been a kind-hearted person, even when he had every reason to advance his own position by becoming one of DM’s vicious lieutenants. Jesse never crossed that threshold. He always remained my friend and someone that I and others could trust not to sell us out.
I also knew that Jesse would be David Miscavige’s worst nightmare if he decided to come forward to expose what he knows about Scientology. He was not just in the inner circle; Jesse was in the innermost inner sanctum, privy to all of the illegalities, covert operations, destruction of enemies, and degradation of Sea Org staff --- all order by Miscavige. He was also a direct witness to the rift between LRH, Pat Broeker and DM which began in 1981 and increased as LRH and Broeker realized with growing alarm that DM was wresting control of Scientology away from them. I was electrified at the possibility that Jesse and I might re-connect. The ramifications for the battle being waged to reform Scientology were staggering. I knew that if Jesse came forward with the information he had, it would mean the end of DM’s reign of terror. I also knew that Jesse would be in serious danger as soon as DM found that that he had contacted me. But Jesse had always been fearless when I knew him. I hoped he would still be that way.
On Wednesday, July 8, Bob left Columbus in the morning and I spent several hours finishing up some business with Brian. When I got back to my hotel at 3:30 I had a message from Jesse Prince asking me to call him on his cell phone. When I heard Jesse’s voice again, after not having seen or heard from him for nine years, I literally cried with joy. I called him right away and he answered on the first ring. He was sitting in a bar in downtown Boston with some friends when I reached him. We were so happy to hear each other’s voices that we practically shouted at each other, it was such an emotional moment for us. The idea that we had both survived so much, and that our friendship had survived all these years and was as strong as ever, was just too much for us. I was the first friend Jesse had contacted since he had gone into hiding after he left Scientology and they began coming after him.
Immediately, without even thinking about it, my support for Jesse was unconditional. Whatever you need to recover, I told him, I’ll help you get it. This is how I feel about Jesse and every other victim of the unspeakable abuse and degradation to which DM subjects his subordinates. I experienced the nightmare myself. I know the horror he survived. Jesse is my friend. He is a decent, kind-hearted, caring person. He’s no angel and never claimed to be, any more than I am. But I will help him in any way I can. He knows it, and we trust each other, and nothing Scientology can do will ever drive a wedge between us.
I arranged for Jesse to fly to Columbus that very night. He didn’t even have time to go back to his hotel to get his suitcase. Brian and I met him at the airport and when he walked down that ramp I can’t remember ever being happier to see anyone than I was to see Jesse that night. We stayed up for hours just catching up on each other’s experiences. He filled in the missing pieces for me about the dismal failure of the 1987 attempted coup, when Pat Broeker sent Vicki Aznaran, Jesse Prince and Spike Bush on a mission to the secret base of international Scientology management in Gilman Hot Springs to remove Miscavige from post and take over command of Scientology. I won’t retell the whole story here because Jesse can do that much better than I, but it answered many questions that I had had. At the same time, I was able to fill in missing pieces for Jesse, since I had been in the LRH biography unit in LA under Vaughn and Broeker at the time, and had therefore been directly and catastrophically affected by the upheaval caused by their failed coup.
Jesse and I spent all day Thursday together, just catching each other up and re-establishing our friendship. Jesse told me how difficult it had been for him to make the transition back to the real world after sixteen years in the bizaare "through-the-looking-glass" world of the Sea Org. He told me that during the first five years after he escaped, he felt he had hit rock bottom and it seemed as if he had suffered just about all the loss possible for him. He said he had felt as if he had nothing else to lose for a time. He had been forced to declare bankruptcy in 1994 and start all over again. He said he found that he was so unsocialized that he literally could not work with other people, because no matter what he did, he just couldn’t fit in. He said he would experience a physical revulsion to being around too many people, and sometimes he couldn’t bear to be around even one other person. To his credit, Jesse started his own company and was able to pull himself up by his bootstraps and begin the long journey toward becoming a functioning member of society. By the time he and I met, Jesse said he felt he was finally gaining some stability personally and some success in his business. He was coming back to himself, he said, and coming back to the world, and it was finally OK for him to be doing that.
Jesse told me that for several years after he left, he had avoided any contact with Scientology or Scientologists to try to separate himself from the deep deception and delusion that, as far as Jesse was concerned, happens to anyone who practices and associates with Scientology for any length of time. But at the end of June, he said, he was in Chicago visiting his family, and his cousin told him she had seen a program on NBC’s Dateline about a guy named Bob Minton. She told Jesse that Bob helped people get out of Scientology and exposed the abusive and deceptive practices of the Scientology cult.
Two weeks later, for the first time ever, Jesse logged onto the Internet. He did it via a computer at a cyber-cafe in Minneapolis, and he found alt.religion.scientology. According to Jesse, he could hardly believe what he was seeing! He had never seen so many people unafraid to stand up and tell the truth about the misery that families and friends have suffered at the hands of Scientology. He came across the FACTNet web page and saw something about Vaughn and me, and that was how it all began. The more we talked, the more Jesse’s conviction grew that it was time for him to stand up and tell his story and do everything possible to end the abuse of Scientology. We talked about how Scientology would go after him, how they would do everything they could to ruin his life, discredit him, portray him as a criminal, a pervert and worse. He knew he would be subjecting his own family to harassment and abuse if he took a public stand against them. And he knew it was very possible he could be in physical danger. But Jesse’s strength and courage increased before my very eyes. By Thursday evening, Jesse was committed to exposing the evil of Scientology, whatever the cost.
Although I didn’t know it until several days later, it was on July 9 that the Boston Globe published its huge article about Bob’s battle with the Church of Scientology. It was extremely favorable toward Bob, and extremely critical of Scientology.
After an emotionally exhausting couple of days with Jesse, on Friday morning, July 10, I flew to Boston to meet my family for a week-long vacation on Cape Cod, while Jesse returned home to Minneapolis to prepare for his life to change radically. We were in touch every day while I was in South Harwich, because as soon as Jesse touched down in Minneapolis he discovered he was being followed, and we realized that Scientology had had us under surveillance in Columbus. Because of the information Jesse has, we had to assume he and I both would at the very least be under continual surveillance once Scientology found out he had hooked up with me.
I suggested it would be wise for Jesse to meet with attorney Dan Leipold in Santa Ana, California, just south of Los Angeles. I thought Jesse should speak to an attorney as soon as possible about the legal risks to which he was exposing himself by taking on Scientology. Dan is one of the most experienced attorneys I know in the strange world of Scientology litigation. He is also representing Lawrence Wollersheim in the FACTNet litigation and I thought he would probably be interested in what Jesse knew about possible fraud concerning the copyrights in question in the FACTNet case. Jesse was extremely apprehensive about flying to LA, since it was in that city that much of his nightmarish Scientology experiences occurred. I offered to meet him in LA so that he would not have to deal with the painful memories alone. He accepted my offer with great relief and I arranged for both of us to fly into Los Angeles on Saturday evening, July 18, after my family vacation was over. .
Little did either of us realize that painful memories would be the least of Jesse’s difficulties during his stay in Los Angeles.
I arrived several hours before Jesse, on Saturday evening, July 18. A dear friend of both Jesse’s and mine met me at the airport and treated me to a leisurely dinner until it was time to meet Jesse’s plane. Jesse and our friend had not seen each other since the late 1970s, so it was a dramatic reunion. Moreover, they had much to reminisce about, since they were both on the infamous 1977-78 RPF in Los Angeles, when the RPF was forced to renovate the newly-acquired Cedars of Lebanon Hospital, now known simply as "the Complex" and best-known for the fact that the entire complex of buildings is painted light blue. Thirty hours on, three off, that was the schedule during the horrific sixteen months they spent together in the RPF. Our friend told Jesse the story of how she escaped, a heartbreaking story Jesse had never heard before, and Jesse told her what had happened to him after she left Scientology.
The reunion of the three of us was deeply moving. I imagine it to be very much like the emotion that victims of any totalitarian, terrorist regime must experience when they are reunited after so many years. For us as former Sea Org members, our relief was in finding that the three of us had survived with our sanity at least relatively in tact. We are three of the lucky ones. I have encountered many former Sea Org members who have seemingly irreparable psychological, emotional and physical damage, and it is heartbreaking to realize that they may very well never fully recover. That night Jesse, our mutual friend and I were poignantly aware of our good fortune.
The next day the harassment began.
Jesse and I took a short drive for some morning coffee at Starbuck’s and quickly realized we were being followed. We decided to confirm our suspicion by taking a circuitous route and, sure enough, we confirmed without a shadow of a doubt that we had tail. There were two different cars on us, and wherever we went one or the other was always behind us.
The next day we visited a former Scientologist in a suburb north of Los Angeles. While we were there, a neighbor called to say there were two cars parked outside of her house, and that a man had actually come to her door trying to get information about Jesse and me. The neighbor described the cars for us and gave us the license plates. She also assured us that she had totally refused to cooperate with Scientology’s hired thugss.
When Jesse and I left our friend’s house several hours later, sure enough, the two cars the neighbor had described pulled out and began to follow us. It was dark by then, and the truth is that neither Jesse nor I see very well at night. So we got lost several times and ended up driving around in circles trying to get home. Somehow our tail got in front of us, and we laughed as we pulled up behind them at a stoplight. When the light turned green, our Scientology friends sped off into the darkness, undoubtedly embarrassed at their clumsy attempt at surveillance. By the way, Scientology has no idea how many quiet enemies it has. The friend with whom Jesse and I were staying had another houseguest at the time, a non-Scientologist. He jumped right into the fray, directing us to park our car in a parking lot near our friend’s house, picking us up in his own car, getting us to lie down on the back seat so the Scientology tails wouldn’t see us, and safely delivering us home. All the while, private investigators were circling the house as if we were carrion. And Jesse hadn’t said a word about Scientology yet!
I had to leave Jesse in LA to go to Wellspring (that will be the subject of a separate post coming very soon), but Vaughn flew down to be with him so he wouldn’t be alone. The day after I left, Vaughn and Jesse were at Dan Leipold’s officeworking on a declaration for the FACTNet case concerning Scientology’s extensive copyright fraud. Suddenly Jesse heard someone shouting his name through the window.
"Hey, Jesse! Come out here!" they were yelling. It was obvious that the two people were OSA operatives, so, of course, Jesse didn’t go outside. One of the operatives finally opened the door himself and threw a letter addressed to Jesse inside the door. It was a letter threatening to sue Jesse if he said a word about what he knew about Scientology. But, as Jesse told me on the phone that night, it was too late to frighten him. The blanket of fear was being rolled back, and the war was on.
Two days later Jesse was falsely detained by two private investigators at four in the morning as he returned to his hotel. As he pulled into the parking lot, they pulled up behind him so that he couldn’t move his car and handed him another threatening letter. Jesse lost his temper at them, and one of the PI’s responded by screaming at Jesse, "You black motherfucker! I’m going to blow your damn head off!"
As Jesse said later, that PI obviously didn’t realize that as a veteran Sea Org member, Jesse was quite used to racial slurs. Jesse just watched the guy spit and stammer, and then he chased him to the highway in his red convertible Mustang.
Meanwhile, I left Los Angeles and flew to Boston on Friday, July 24. I was literally exhausted after the harassment Jesse and I had been subjected to in L.A., and I badly needed a rest. Bob met me at the airport and told me that someone pretending to be my "travel agent" had called the house in Boston the night before and told Therese what flight I was coming in on. Although Therese already knew about the relationship between Bob and me and knew that I was flying to Boston, having an obvious Scientology operative call her and throw this in her face had been extremely upsetting for her, particularly because she was scheduled to leave for England Friday morning with the two girls. Bob told me about this phone call on the way to his house in Sandown, New Hampshire, where we planned to spend a quiet weekend before I went to Wellspring. But as all of you know by now, it turned out to be anything but a quiet weekend in New Hampshire.
On Saturday afternoon, July 25, Bob and I were swimming in the pool on his property in New Hampshire. Bob was telling me about a phone call he had received from high-level Scientology operative Mike Rinder. Bob was telling me that Scientology had had Jesse and me under surveillance when we met for the first time in Columbus, Ohio, on Wednesday, July 8, and that the reason he knew this was that on Sunday, July 19, he had received a telephone call from Rinder. During the phone call Rinder let Bob know that he was aware that Jesse Prince had met with me in Ohio, and he demanded to know if Jesse Prince was on Bob’s payroll, meaning was he now paying Jesse to do anti-Scientology work. Bob told me he had replied that he was not, but because of that phone call Bob had known the harassment of both Jesse and me was going to increase, and that was exactly what had happened in Los Angeles.
This was at about 5:00 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. I suddenly looked up the hill toward the driveway and saw someone standing at the top of the hill near the barn, looking down at us in the pool. When another person appeared and began to shout my name along with outrageous obscenities, we both realized with alarm that it was Scientologists on Bob’s property.
As Bob wrote in his report to the New Hampshire prosecutor, "At that point I knew that the Scientologists were trespassing on my property and invading my privacy for the express purpose of continuing their campaign of harassment and intimidation against Stacy Young and myself. Having experienced this harassment for the past year, I was fully aware that these people are fanatical in their beliefs and that they had been indoctrinated into believing that both Stacy Young and I were dangerous criminals. There is a policy in Scientology known as "Fair Game," which states that anyone who is a threat to Scientology can be "lied to, tricked, sued, and destroyed" in any way necessary without the perpetrator being punished in any way. I fully believed this to be the state of mind of the Scientologists on my property and considered that both Stacy Young and I were in physical danger as long as these people were trespassing on my property.
As everyone knows, the final outcome of this incident was that no charges were filed against Bob and the Scientologists were warned never to set foot on his property again. But it was an extremely stressful weekend.
The next day, Sunday, July 26, Bob got a call from Therese in England saying that a letter had been hand-delivered to her father’s house outside of London. The letter was signed by Mike Rinder and was filled with terrible information about a number of people that Bob has assisted, but the majority of the letter was filled with scurrilous information about me, clearly calculated to upset Therese as much as possible.
Later that day, Bob drove me down to Boston so I could take a flight to Columbus, Ohio, and from there I drove south to Wellspring. As soon as I arrived, I arranged for Jesse to fly to New Hampshire to stay with Bob to make sure he was safe while I was in Ohio. Jesse flew to Boston on July 27 and was there until August 8. As I had expected, Jesse and Bob became the best of friends during the week he stayed there.
Later Jesse would tell me that he was amazed to meet Bob, and utterly surprised to meet someone who has compassion for people who have had a bad experience that he has not personally had. As Jesse pointed out, the common reaction of people toward ex-cult members is that they are strange and somehow basically stupid , easily manipulated people. But the fact of the matter is that it’s just plain bad luck when a person gets into a cult, and it could and does happen to almost anyone. Bob understands that, and Jesse loves him for it.
As Jesse told me after his trip to New Hampshire, "Bob restored my faith and belief in humanity. I don’t know how else to describe it beyond that. Bob has the courage of a lion and the heart and mind of an angel. He is not afraid of anything I’ve seen yet."
From New Hampshire Jesse flew to Minneapolis to pack up his things and get ready for his life to change radically. Vaughn flew to Minneapolis to meet Jesse so that he would have someone with him while he prepared to move to Boulder. The most difficult part about getting Vaughn to Minneapolis was that MacPherson, our 85-pound dog, had to go with him. Mac is the dog who was kidnapped last February and beaten brutally while Vaughn was in Germany testifying against Scientology. You’ll be glad to know that he has fully recovered from the beating. The only vestige of it is that he is missing all of his bottom front teeth, but that doesn’t bother Mac at all. He and Vaughn are inseparable, so, of course, he goes everywhere Vaughn goes. He is a very large dog (and an excellent watchdog --- if anyone ever tried to hurt Vaughn they would probably lose an arm) so it took a while to find a crate big enough to hold him, and then we had to find a flight that would allow him on. But we solved all of these logistical problems and Vaughn and Mac arrived safely in Minneapolis.
FACTNet purchased a car for Jesse’s use when he got to Minneapolis. Two days later, one of Scientology’s hired thugs kicked in the passenger door of the car (there is a picture of kicked-in door on alt.binaries.scientology).
Jesse took Vaughn on a fairly wild journey to Chicago, where he got a chance to meet Jesse’s Blues/Rock Star brother Ron. In vintage Jesse style, the two of them ran all around the North and South sides of Chicago, visting old friends and having a good time meeting new people.
They left Chicago and went to visit Jesse’s daughter and his grandchildren in a small town in southern Illinois, then headed for Memphis, Tennesse, where Jesse’s father and sister live. As it happened, Vaughn checked into a hotel right across the street from Graceland, and it happened to be Elvis week. So Vaughn enjoyed the Elvis celebration while Jesse had a great time with his father and sister, whose birthday happened to be just when they were there. The best part of the trip for Jesse, though, was that he met his great-nephew Malachi, who is two years old and, according to Jesse, is a "joy to behold."
While Jesse and Vaughn were ennroute to Denver, I was finishing my stay at Wellspring. What an incredible place!
Because of several extremely harassive visits from Scientology private investigator Eugene Ingram a few years back, Wellspring has a gate at the beginning of their driveway which they kept locked most of the time while I was there to protect me from being harassed. So my two-week stay was wonderfully free of Scientologists or private investigators -- until Bob Minton arrived toward the end of my stay. He came to Wellspring so that he and I could speak to one of the counselors there together. As he drove up to the Wellspring gate he was met with several scruffy looking individuals who soon made it clear that they were Scientologists, there to take photographs of Bob and me.
We took down their license plate numbers and reported them to the local sheriff, who was already familiar with their tactics because of the trouble Wellspring had had with Scientology earlier. The sheriff was very supportive and told us to let him know immediately if we had any further instances of being followed or harassed in any way. We assumed the Scientologists found out that the sheriff was on the look-out for them, because we didn’t see them again for the duration of our stay.
When we left Wellspring Bob and I stopped briefly in Washington, D.C., to have dinner with a high-level media contact, and then on Sunday, August 9, I returned to Vashon Island and he flew back to Boston.
Vaughn and Jesse made it to Denver in time for Jesse to be deposed in the FACTNet case in a grueling three-day confrontation with Scientology attorney Samuel Rosen. I met Jesse in Denver on Tuesday, August 18, so that I could attend the deposition as a FACTNet director. Also attending were Ford Greene, representing Jesse, Dan Leipold, representing Lawrence Wollersheim, Lawrence himself (who is also named in the suit as an individual), and, sitting on Rosen’s side of the table for Scientology, Mike Rinder and RTC staff member Allan Cartwright. Jesse was senior to both of these Scientology operatives when he was in RTC, so it was fascinating to observe these two as they reacted to Jesse’s testimony. I won’t go into details here about the deposition, because it will be the subject of another post once Scientology’s protective order is lifted. I will say, however, that I have never seen anyone treated with more contempt, discourtesy and blatant racism than Jesse was by Sam Rosen in that deposition. It was staggering. To Jesse’s credit, he maintained his composure throughout the deposition and never once rose to Rosen’s bait. Jesse is truly and profoundly a gentleman.
One night while we were all in Denver, Scientology sent a call girl in on Jesse to try to entrap him. The woman stole a $100 bill that Jesse put on the table to pay for the drink he had bought her in the bar of the hotel where we were staying. Jesse was so irritated that she had stolen his money!
"Now, I know this girl was being well paid," Jesse laughingly complained to me later. "Why did she have to rob poor me?"
Oddly, Scientology also hired a gay man to try to entrap Jesse. Anyone who knows Jesse Prince at all can tell you that he has never had any interest and probably never will have any interest in anything but women. As Jesse put it, "With all the pc folder information they have about me and use against me, I have no idea why they thought I might go for a gay guy."
Needless to say, Jesse didn’t fall for either of Scientology’s attempts to entrap him.
After the deposition Jesse remained in Boulder to begin a thorough debriefing with Lawrence Wollersheim, and I returned to Vashon Island. (This debriefing will be the subject of a series of stunning posts in the near future.)
Neither Ford Greene, Dan Leipold, Jesse nor I had been aware of any surveillance while the deposition was ongoing. But as soon as Ford, Dan and I left and Jesse was alone in Boulder, the PIs descended upon him in force. Jesse told me that one day the PIs were following him in such a harassive way that he was forced to call the police four times. The police ordered a female PI to leave Jesse alone and watched to make sure she didn’t follow Jesse as he drove away. But when he arrived at the house where he was staying, the very same female PI was waiting for him, laughing, in front of the house.
During this same period of time, on Monday, August 24, Scientologists picketed the financial district in Boston and for several hours distributed fliers concerning the relationship between Bob Minton and me. It was the distribution of these fliers that prompted Bob to post his now-famous message on a.r.s. in which he announced that he and I are getting married. What immediately preceeded this post was a private email from one of the regulars on a.r.s. attacking Bob really harshly for "not living up to proper moral standards." He was extremely upset by the distribution of the fliers, and the private message just hit him the wrong way. He tried to reach me before he posted his announcement but I was in Seattle and unreachable. When he finally reached me in the early evening, he was extremely upset about what had happened that day and told me the stress of Scientology’s harassment had nearly broken him. He read me what he had posted about our relationship. I suppose it was because of the stress of having Scientology turn our personal lives into a fishbowl that we decided that night that we would no longer hide our relationship in any way.
The next morning Bob flew into Seattle. I was there to meet him, and as we got off the escalator from the gate, we nearly ran into four picketers holding signs about Bob Minton and me. This was the first of a series of pickets which have happened everywhere we have flown in the past two weeks. Somehow the Scientologists know when both of us are flying, what airlines we are taking, our flight number and the gate where we will arrive in the airport. They have met every plane either of us has taken since Bob’s post on August 23.
They have picketed not only our flghts. Bob was in Seattle from Tuesday, August 24, until Thursday, August 26, when we both flew to San Francisco. While he was in Seattle the Scientologists picketed the hotel where we were staying in downtown Seattle and my cat sanctuary on Vashon Island. The hotel security ran them off at the hotel, and Vashon’s local sheriff ordered them off the island when he discovered them on Vashon.
On Wednesday, August 25, my assistant at the sanctuary reported to me that she had received two telephone death threats. The calls seemed to come from two different people, and both callers assumed that it was I who answered the phone. The callers said roughly the following:
"Listen, you fucking cunt, you better get that black bastard in the witness protection program because we’re going to fucking kill him. Do you understand, you fucking whore?"
Forgive my language, but I want you to have the full impact of these calls. My assistant was terrified, and Bob and I were both extremely alarmed at this dramatic shift in Scientology’s approach. I called Jesse and Lawrence immediately to let them both know Scientology was now threatening to kill Jesse. Soon afterwards I received two telephone calls from the FBI wanting full details of the telephone death threats. I spoke to the FBI agents at great length, briefing them on the full implications of Jesse’s knowledge of Scientology’s crimes and assuring them that the Scientology leadership is perfectly capable of murdering Jesse to keep his knowledge from ever surfacing. To my knowledge, the FBI has had Jesse under surveillance protection ever since and is keeping detailed records of all the Scientology tails they are able to ascertain.
Bob and I flew to San Francisco on Friday, August 28, to meet with Ford Greene and several other people. Our departure was not without incident, as a lone picketer said goodbye to us as we boarded the plane at the Seattle airport. When we arrived at the San Francisco airport we were confronted with several picketers with signs about Bob and me. They were extremely rude and continued to harass us until we reached the baggage claim area of the airport.
The next day Bob and I, along with Grady Ward, Keith Henson, and several others, picketed the San Franicisco org. Several Scientologists came out and distributed leaflets about Bob Minton and me to anyone who received a flier about Lisa McPherson from Grady Ward or a flier about Xenu from Kristi. Kristi, I might add, is better at working a crowd than anyone I’ve seen at any trade show. Otherwise, it was a peaceful demonstration that concluded without further incident.
The next morning Therese Minton called Bob to let him know that Scientologists had picketed their homes in Boston and New Hampshire, in both locations passing out fliers about Bob and me. She was angry at the despicable tactics of the Scientologists and concerned that these fliers were being passed out where friends of the Minton children might recieve them. Therese had gone out and photographed the picketers. She was not in the least bit intimidated by them. She was merely furious at them for their hypocrisy in feigning concern for the children while doing everything possible to hurt them.
This incident upset Bob a great deal, and after a meeting with Grady, we were ready for a long walk in downtown San Francisco just to try to relax. We set out from our hotel toward Fisherman’s Wharf. When we had walked several blocks Bob decided we should turn back and get a map from the Fairmont Hotel. We were nearly to the front door of the Fairmont when we suddenly realized that one of the Scientology operatives we had seen at the org the day before was standing with his back to us in front of the Fairmont, holding a walkie-talkie to his mouth, and saying, "They’re heading back toward their hotel now; they’re in front of the Fairmont."
We were flabbergasted that we were being stalked like this by Scientology. Bob was in no mood to be cordial to this Scientology goon. He walked over to him and demanded to know why he was following us. The Scientologist sneered at Bob and said, "I’m a citizen of San Francisco. I have as much right to be here as you do."
At that, Bob called the San Franicisco police and reported that we were being stalked, that we had been met at our gate at the San Francisco airport by Scientologists, that they were stalking us all across the country, meeting us wherever we fly, and now here they were stalking us through the streets of San Francisco. We followed this man for many blocks, deep into the heart of Chinatown, keeping tabs on him until the police could arrive. Every few feet the Scientologist (we later found out his name was Mark Warlick) stopped and pretended to be videoing scenes from Chinatown as if he were a tourist. Later one of the police officers suggested that he was probably erasing the footage he had taken of Bob and me in case they confiscated his camera. When the police arrived the officer did take the video camera, although he later returned it.
This Scientologist, Mark Warlick, admitted to the police that he was one of the people who met us at our gate two days before, so it was obvious to the police that the Scientologists were harassing us. But when the police sergeant finally arrived and interviewed both the Scientologist and Bob and me, he came to the conclusion, albeit reluctantly, that Mark Warlick had not technically broken any law.
"Listen," he said to us, "you two are celebrities, and there is just no way to control what people are going to do when you arrive in town. It’s the same problem politicians have. People picket them, they follow them, they yell at them, and what can the police do? Unless these people actually break the law, we can’t arrest them."
This was unnerving to hear from a law enforcement officer. Bob and I looked at each other in dismay as we realized that what this policeman had just told us was that Scientology would be able to continue to harass us and there was nothing the law of the United States could do to stop them.
The sergeant did warn Mark Warlick that he had come dangerously close to breaking the stalking law, and he did tell him to let all the other Scientology operatives know that if they crossed the line and broke the law they would be arrested. The sneer on Mark Warlick’s face that he had had when we first saw him in front of the Fairmont Hotel was definitely gone by the time the police let him go. But the incident had had a profound effect on Bob and me.
We returned to our hotel room and talked about what had happened. What we realized was that the only way we can deal with the harassment from Scientology is to refuse to be intimidated by them in any way.
We went out and purchased a large portfolio case that holds up to ten picket signs and sticks. When we left San Francisco for Boulder, Colorado, to visit Jesse and to have a board meeting with Lawrence Wollersheim, we carried our portfolio case on board the airplane with us. When we landed in Denver, I got out my digital camera, and Bob carried the portfolio case with him as we walked out to the gate.
I saw Jesse with several picketers as I rounded the corner to the gate and I immediately started shooting pictures. Bob pulled out picket signs, handed one to Jesse and held up one himself, and we immediately turned the tables on these Scientology picketers. Bob and Jesse were following the picketers and I was taking photographs of the entire incidents. Bob was announcing to everyone in the airport that these were Scientologists who were stalking us, following us everywhere we go and trying to frighten us into silence so we won’t expose the true nature of their so-called "church."
We got on the shuttle to baggage claim and noticed that the Scientology picketers purposely did not get on the shuttle. So when our shuttle arrived, we waited for the next one. When the picketers got off, we began shooting their photos again and following them with our own picket signs, again announcing loudly who they were and why they were there. By the time we were finished with them, these four picketers had their signs between their legs and they were running out of the airport.
The next night Jesse, Lawrence, Bob and I had dinner at the Boulderado Hotel. At a certain point we recognized someone from the ARSCC Boulder Underground standing outside the restaurant. Bob went out to say hello and when he came back, he reported that there were approximately seven to ten Scientology PIs surrounding the hotel, but that the ARSCC Boulder Underground had successfully scrambled the radio signals of the PIs and disrupted their surveillance so effectively that most of them had given up and left.
Today I flew home to Seattle and Bob and Jesse flew to Boston. When I arrived on Vashon Island I was met with picketers right up the street from the sanctuary, undoubtedly because the sheriff warned them if they trespassed on private property again he would arrest them.
When Jesse and Bob got off their plane in Boston they were met by seven picketers, including the DSA Maureen O’Keefe, OSA operative Gerard Renna, Frank Hall, and several others who have picketed in Boston before.
Immediately Bob pulled picket signs out of his portfolio case and both of them held picket signs up while Bob also took photos with his digital camera, so he could download them right away to post on alt.binries.scientology.
Maureen came at Bob with, as he put it, "a stomach that stuck out three feet from her face," and holding the taunting a.r.s. post that Bob had sent from the airplane announcing that he and Jesse were arriving in Boston and providing OSA with their flight number. Gerard Renna was also trying to get in Bob’s face, although he is so short that he wasn’t able to reach.
Both Jesse and Bob pointed out to Renna on several occasions that he was in serious need of mouthwash, as they were having a very difficult time every time he got close to them.
The Scientologists were extremely hostile all along, but they were unable to stop the verbal tech of the tag-team duo, Bob and Jesse. Finally in the baggage claim area the encounter became so boisterous that the Massachusetts state troopers had to come in to restore order. When they found out that Jesse and Bob were passengers who had arrived on a flight from Denver, had been stalked through the terminal, and were trying to pick up their bags, they told the Scientologists that had they known they were demonstating at the gate or anywhere in the airport, for that matter, they would have arrested them, as FAA regulations prohibit such activities.
The Scientologists were removed to a neutral location, where they couldn’t bother Bob and Jesse while they left the airport.
Bob called Therese from the car and told her what had happened at the airport, but Therese said she wasn’t afraid of "those fools" and told them to go ahead and go to the house. But four Scientologist followed Bob and Jesse to a house they knew Bob no longer lives in, specifically for the purpose of upsetting Therese and the children. Jesse went outside of the Beacon Hill house and spoke to the four Scientologists. DSA Maureen O’Keefe told the other three to stay away from Jesse, but Gerard Renna and the other two Scientologists gathered round him and listened, spellbound, as he told them the real story of life in the inner circle of Scientology leadership.
This conversation with Jesse continued until two Boston police cars arrived and ordered the Scientologists to leave.
From now on, we will document every instance of harassment or attempted intimidation by Scientology. Soon we’ll have a web page set up that will get daily updates of harassment from all over the country, complete with photographs and video footage where appropriate.
The reign of terrrorism by these bullies is at an end.